Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I first made this recipe a few months ago for a friend's lingerie party. I thought that red velvet seemed appropriate for the occasion, but I honestly couldn't remember what red velvet cake tasted like! My mother doesn't really like it, and the other people I asked all seemed ambivalent on the subject - so of course I had to give it a try! I followed the Martha Stewart's directions that time, making Mini Heart-Shaped Cakes so each guest had their own little cake. Everyone liked them! (Or at least that's what they said.... : ) But Alan, who doesn't like cake very much, also said he like it! So I decided to make the recipe again, with a slight variation.

The problem when I make desserts is there are only two of us to eat it all and no co-workers at the moment on which to fob of the extras. So I usually halve every recipe. Cakes are a little harder though, because I still wanted to layer the cake. Since this recipe was meant to be baked thin to make the individual cakes, I halved the recipe and baked it in a 9x13. Then I cut two 5.5" squares and ended up with a cute square cake that Alan and I can eat before it goes bad (without eating to much)!

Red Velvet Cake with Speckled Cinnamon Frosting and Blueberries
makes one small layer cake (about 6 slices)


  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring (this is optional if you don't care if the cake is actually red)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 1/2 + 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar (you can substitute other kinds, like wine vinegar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Speckled Cinnamon Frosting (see below)
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees with rack in the center of the oven. Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper, grease parchment, and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, food coloring, and 2 tbsp boiling water. Set aside to cool.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and shortening on high speed until smooth. Add sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Stir buttermilk and vanilla into cocoa mixture. Into another medium bowl, sift together flour and salt. With the mixer on low, add flour mixture alternating with cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat until incorporated.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together vinegar and baking soda until baking soda dissolves; mixture will fizz. Add to batter and mix until just combined.
  6. Pour batter into prepared baking sheet, smoothing the top. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 20 to 30 minutes, rotating pan after 10 minutes.
  7. Cook cake completely on a wire rack. Cut out two 5.5" squares. Layer and frost with Speckled Cinnamon Frosting. Top with blueberries. 
Speckled Cinnamon Frosting
enough for one small cake


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Whisk together sugar and flour in medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add milk and cream and place over medium heat, whisking occasionally until mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 10 minutes (if you double this recipe, it will take twice as long).
  2. Transfer mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on high speed until cool. Reduce speed to low and add butter; mix until well incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and mix until frosting is light and fluffy. Add vanilla and cinnamon and continue mixing until combined. If frosting is too soft, chill slightly and then re-mix to proper consistency. If frosting becomes too firm, place bowl over a pot of simmering water and re-mix to proper consistency.

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